Born on December 17, 1897, David Thompson Watson McCord, was a prolific poet for both children and adults. He was born in New York, lived in New Jersey for a few years, but spent much of his youth in and around Portland, Oregon.
Mr. McCord went to Harvard University, intending to become a physicist. He edited the Harvard Alumni Bulletin from 1940 to 1946. His first book was Oddly Enough, published in 1926. “Some said it was good and some bad,” he wrote. “I dare say it was.”
He even invented a new style, called “symmetrics,” which was a five-line verse form. Mr. McCord received honorary degrees from twenty-two universities. In 1956, he was awarded Harvard’s first honorary doctorate of humane letters. He worked as executive director of Harvard’s College Fund for 38 years. In 1977, he received the first national award for Excellence in Poetry for Children from the National Council of Teachers of English. He published 550 poems, with more than 400 of them written for children.
Howard Nemerov wrote that McCord was a “rare and wonderful poet who can delight equally…the listening children and the reading parent.” Clifton Fadiman said of McCord that he was “both an acrobat of language and an authentic explorer of the child’s inner world.”
McCord died in 1997.